Keeping up with RSS feeds

May 22nd, 2004 § 4 comments

Currently, I’m subscribed to 92 RSS feeds. When I started reading sites via RSS, over two years ago, my list of subscriptions jumped from ten sites to dozens in a couple months. Reading the content in an aggregator saved me so much time that I just kept adding the interesting blogs I found without worrying about how many posts they would introduce in my reading list every day. I was so enthusiastic about the technology, and found so many interesting things that I just wanted more.

A few months laters, I was trying to keep up with over 200 subscriptions. It was so much content that downloading the new posts made in the previous day took about five minutes in the broadband connection I used. I soon found out that I was not able to keep up with so much information. I spent a lot of time just scanning the posts to decide what I would read and what I wouldn’t, but even so the list of unread posts grew every day. Every week or so, I would just clear the list and start it again, ignoring all unread posts from the previous week.

I soon had to start to delete some subscriptions — not because their content was not good, but because I was not able to keep with them. I finally reduced the list to less than 50 feeds. I was able again to give my daily intake of information the attention it deserved. The fact is that I don’t like to skim posts. Unless I find out soon that I don’t need to read a post in its entirety to understand what it wants to convey, or if it’s simple a post talking about cats, small incidents, and things like that, I prefer to read every word on it. So 50 feeds was content enough for the time I devote daily to read.

Over the following year, however, my list started to slowly grow again. Every now and them I found somebody whose writings were consistently interesting and meaningful. I reasoned that I would be able to keep with those feeds with just a few minutes more every day. That was 40 new feeds ago.

Today, with 92 subscriptions, I’m falling behind again. Of course, it’s not that I’m obliged to read those feeds. It’s just that I’d like to read them but I don’t have the time.

A couple months ago, Scoble said he follows 1400+ feeds. I wonder if he ever sleeps. A mere 10 seconds spent in each feed already amounts to almost four hours after so many subscriptions. Jonas Galvez, a friend of mine and fellow blogger, wrote recently that he follows 400 different feeds. I know he doesn’t sleeps, but even so it’s just so much content that I doubt I would even be able to filter it in the time I have to read every day.

So, how do you guys keep up with so many feeds? What techniques do you use to avoid a deluge of information?

RSS is a great technology, and it has done wonders for my career since I’m able to stay informed about what’s happening in the market in near real-time, but it can easily get out of control. It would be interesting to learn how people cope with the flood of content that RSS can generate. I look forward to hearing opinions about the topic.

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